Introducing: PS Selvedge Chambray

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Monday, August 24th 2020
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Back in 2017, Jamie Ferguson and I visited fabric mills in Japan - like Hosoo, in Kyoto (pictured below), which produces the most extraordinary silks.

It was really interesting to see the weaving side of Japanese heritage, and the typically innovative and detail-oriented approach.

Although Japan does have mills that produce a full range of tailoring and shirting cloth, it's fair to say it's not generally a world leader in either. It's still catching up with Italy in that regard.

It is, however, the best place in the world to find silk, denim and chambray.

I've been looking to find a nice, narrow-loom chambray cloth for a while. 

I thought it would be a nice complement to the other PS oxfords and denims; but I also wanted something more casual and open weave than the European mills typically offer to shirtmakers.

I was excited, therefore, when 100 Hands said last year that they had sourced a similar chambray, as part of a new denims collection.

The cloth was everything I had wanted in terms of texture and weave. And it was enhanced further by being treated in 100 Hands' washing facility - a new operation that is allowing them to garment wash bespoke shirts. 

The result is an incredibly soft, narrow-woven material that wears in beautifully, getting better with every wear and wash. 

Most Japanese chambrays are closely woven and a little compact. The open weave of this one makes it softer and more breathable, producing a lovely handfeel.

The vintage shuttle looms also help with that softness, giving the cloth an easy movement and stretch. 

The issue with narrow-loom Japanese fabrics is normally shrinkage, but this is where the 100 Hands washing process is helpful. Their enzyme wash removes the shrinkage, stabilising the fabric as well as removing any excess indigo. 

The cloth is a little heavier than some summer chambrays, at 143g/m. But its open weave makes it wearable pretty much all year round. 

In terms of colour, it has the typical indigo-and-white weave of chambray, which gives it that denim-like style but flatter and subtly textured.

And it has the nice detail of a selvedge, which you can choose to include on part of the shirt if you wish.

I've seen shirts where it is used on the front edge, next to the buttons - so it shows where the shirt is undone. I went for the subtler option of putting it on the inside of the cuff placket. 

While indigo chambray is not as versatile a white or blue oxford, I do find it goes with a range of other colours.

It's great with navy, denim, and darker shades of brown and green.

I also particularly like it with cream, as shown above, and it works with other pale colours like beige. Good for chinos and jeans. 

It's definitely a casual fabric, but like denim, makes a nice contrast with softly cut tailoring as well.  

I was expecting to like the chambray with cream and navy, but the more casual options were a pleasant surprise. 

It shouldn’t have been, given chambray is such a mainstay of workwear wardrobes, but still it was nice to see how good the cloth looked with denim, with olive or khaki chinos, and with brown leather. 

In the image above, this is shown well with it under a suede shirt-jacket from RRL. And it’s lovely with a Valstarino or similar blouson jacket as well. 

A regular denim combination for me now is this chambray, my darker MTM Levi’s, and cordovan loafers. 

At the moment, we're only offering the chambray cloth, not completed shirts. The cloth is available on the PS Shop as per normal, here.

The fact that it is woven on traditional, narrow looms means it is far slower to produce, and we need to sell longer lengths - 2.5m rather than the normal 2m. That plus the washing and importing make the chambray rather more expensive than the other PS cloths, but we've reduced the margin to keep it to £79 each.

As ever, if you want to send a length straight to a shirtmaker, please put them as the shipping address; include your name as a reference in that address; and let them know it is coming. 

And 100 Hands have the cloth already in stock, so if you want a shirt made by them, just contact them directly - don't bother ordering from the PS Shop. They are doing MTO and MTM remotely, as well as remote bespoke orders for existing customers.

Technical details:

  • Cloth is 100% cotton, 143 gram / Mtl (GSM 130)
  • Yarn count 40/1 x 20/1
  • Width is 1.1m (being a vintage loom) and is therefore sold in lengths of 2.5m, unlike the 2m of other PS cloths
  • Woven by Maruwa, Japan
  • Narrow, vintage looms with selvedge
  • Shrinkage should be the same as any modern, compact cloth, 1-2%

Clothes pictured:

  • Suede shirt-jacket from RRL
  • Made-to-measure jeans from Levi's
  • Cashmere crewneck from Colhay's
  • Cream corduroy trousers from Pommella

Photography: Milad Abedi

Note: We normally try to keep new product launches, and so corresponding articles, to one every three weeks or so. There will be more than that in the coming months, just because nothing was manufactured for three months during lockdown, so now those delayed products are arriving at the same time as scheduled ones. Apologies in advance, and hopefully readers will find the articles and photography interesting, even if they're not buying. Simon.

 

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Luciano

Hi Simon. Very interesting. Could you please clarify if the cloth offered in the shop
has been processed in washing by 100 Hands or not. From the article it seems yes
Thanks
L.

Tamaki

Hi Simon,
Very interesting and versatile fabric, as usual. I have noticed that you have worked in these shirt fabrics and I’m interested if you are going to release some collaboration for jackets cloth again soon (not counting the Escorial Tweed since, while stunning, are the same as the previous year). Particularly interested in some summer jacketing cloth (since I tend to overheat easily).

On that note, if you could, what kind of summer jacketing cloth would you go for? I find that pure linen usually look too much as an orfan jacket and most summer jacket bunches have too strong patters on them and doesn’t have that lovely simplicity of Harris/Donegal Tweed

Martin

Is this the same cloth Drake´s used for a shirt last year?

Nick

I imagine style wise you would recommend having this made into a button-down shirt?

Would love an article on Japanese mills (particularly silk) or tips on where we can get our hands on some.

Robin

Very nice looking cloth.
Certainly worth consideration.

I note that PS has done shirt fabric and jacket cloth on the basis that you’re filling specification /need not available.
So is there a gap in trouser cloth for PS to fulfill ?

John Himmelsbach

Simon
Do you know if 100 Hands will work with customers in the United States? I have tried to contact them in the past and have not received a response. Thanks.

Akshat

Hello John, Apologies if we missed responding in the past. We are normally quite swift and take good care of it. Happy to assist you in the best manner. My direct email id is [email protected]

Neil Tang

Hi Simon,

Congratulations on this latest chambray cloth with 100hands.

Is the shirt made by 100hands? How do you find their button-down collar style in comparison to your usual LA button-down collar?

Alexander

Could you please tell us some differences compared to the L.A.-button down-collar?

Adam Jones

Do you think this could work as an over shirt? Or is it a little too light?

Gonzague

How does one order from 100hands? From their website even the shop online button does not work (at least not for me); so for MtM,…?

Chancellor

Looking forward to checking this out in the future.

As a passing comment, I actually prefer it when there’s a slew of product launches in a short period. I then decide what I want and order several items at once, saving on shipping costs, and lessening the hassle of dealing with customs multiple times. So on my end, no need to apologize for having several launches coming up quickly. 🙂

R Abbott

I second Chancellor’s comment.

Omar Asif

Why would an enzyme wash be needed to remove shrinkage? Wouldn’t normal washing do the same?
Conventionally, people used to soak or ‘shrink’ cotton fabrics meant for shirts/ similar attire for a few hours in water before handing them to the tailor so it doesn’t shrink further once made

Jordan Healey

I have been looking for a shirting fabric like this for 5 years or so, and thus purchase almost didn’t require any thought. Will have to store it away for post-covid times though.

Jonny

Hi Simon,

Just to clarify, does the washing process get out all the shrinkage (by all, I mean what would occur in 3 or 4 x 40 degree wash cycles)? And would that also apply to the PS Denim shirting?

Ian skelly

Looks lovely! Are you planning on releasing a rtw shirt ? If so any idea when / costings?

Justin

Hi Simon- Beautiful fabric, this may be the next shirt I order from 100 hands. Are those the EG Greenwich in cordovan you are wearing in the last photo? The slim last looks fantastic in that burgundy cordovan. Very elegant look with jeans.

DB

Simon — This looks like a great addition to the line-up.

I had two related questions — (1) Does the shirt shown here have a placket? It looks like no, but it does include a line of stitching where the placket would be. (2) In general, is there a pattern to when you decide to have your shirts made with a placket?

DB

Thanks, Simon. That makes sense. On the casual side, it seems to me that a shirt without a placket will sometimes come open a bit more at the neck when worn with the collar unbuttoned. For me, that seems to suit a lighter-weight, more summery shirt — less so with something like an oxford.

Miles

Hi Simon,

I’m sure you’ll get to this when cover the shirt. But there seems to be a beautiful line of stitching where a placket would be. Is there a name for this kind of stitch? And do you think it exists somewhere between a placket and no-placket in formality? (Or are my eyes deceiving me entirely!)

Thank you and best,

Miles

Joe

Love chambray shirtings, Simon, so very keen on this. However, I’ve only ever bought the PS shirts readymade; I’ve never had a shirt made bespoke or MTM, and don’t have a relationship or experience with any shirtmakers – certainly not ones in Naples. Any advice for a first timer in that regard (or old posts to point me to, to save you time)? Cheers.

Joe

Yes, more makers. And – though I know you’ve said Italians are better at casual shirts – probably English ones, realistically. Thanks.

Justin

Nice shine on them then!

Anon

I’d love to hear from Simon / broader community about US-based shirtmakers that will work with customer-supplied cloth. I’ve reached out to a couple and they were not open to working with customer-supplied fabrics. Any suggestions ?

Anonymous

I didn’t tell them where the cloth was from, it was more of a general inquiry if customer-supplied cloth was “on the menu”. To my emailed inquiries, Mercer said “no”, Proper Cloth said “no” (so if there is a back-door approach please let me know!). Since posting my original comment I’ve reached out to Hamilton, who said “yes” with the condition that after inspection they may decline to make a shirt depending on the fabric. The common theme was the shirtmakers were hesitant to commit to a fabric they did not have experience using.

Anonymous

Simon,
Sorry, may be it was already addressed: Will you have Luca Avitabile to come up with a final shirt offered in your shop at a later date?

Thanks
Axel

Matt Jochim

Hi Simon,
Luca A has made shirts for me, so has my measurements. What’s the most pragmatic way of getting fabric to him? Order through PS website with him as ship to? Or are there any plans to “batch” deliver some of the fabric to him? (I’m not in any particular hurry)
Thanks,
Matt

Jonathan

My length has just arrived – it’s rather wonderful, and I’m thinking a collarless shirt. I’m also thinking it would make a lovely dressing gown but I’ll need to ask my shirt-maker if he could do that from 2 lengths?

Akshat /100Hands

I agree with you Simon. We have made pajama shirts and long night shirts in this fabric but for a gown, pasting or lining might be required to give it some structure.

Regards
Akshat, 100Hands

Peter

What’s the distinction of the cloth being woven on a narrow loom vs. presumably a “wide” loom? Both in terms of the production process and differences in the finished product. Would the analogy be to a garment being handmade vs. machine made – subtly better in a je ne sais quoi kind of way? Thank you.

Anonymous

I sat on this too long and missed the opportunity. Do you expect to make another run and, if so, when? Thank you.

Elliott

Hi Simon,

Great fabric, it’s amazing.

What other releases for fabric will you he having in the pipeline?

HR

Can you post a picture of how you did the cuff placket?

DB

Simon — I see that this fabric is out of stock on your shop page. Congratulations on the positive reception. Do you expect that supplies will be re-stocked at some point in the future?

Dieter

already sold out…. any plans for a second bunch?

Noel

Hi Simon,

You mentioned that this shirt can be used all year around, but the weight seems to be on the light side (at least compared to say the PS Oxford). Im wonder if it would be suitable in the autumn /winter if one is only wearing a shirt inside.

Tim

Hi Simon,
Could you please comment on how and why selvedge chambray uniquely fades and changes color over time? It seems to age differently than denim and also appears to fade more than dyed cotton yarn used in a typical blue Oxford weave shirt.

Thanks

Anonymous

Simon, do you have any updates as to offering RTW shirts in this cloth?

S

Hello Simon,

Out of matter of interest how hard wearing would this cloth be?

Thanks!

S

Thank you for the answer!!

Jonathan Hall

Simon, I see this is sold out on your on-line shop. Are there plans to make more available?

K h

I’ve sent an email for waiting list for this cloth when it’s available at the end of the-year. Pls inform me in due course.

Charles

Do you think a normal dress shirt collar would work for this fabric. i.e. no button down. It could be interesting but am keen to hear your opinion. Thank you.

Anonymous

Hello Simon – what colour buttons would work best with this? White?

Noel

Hi Simon,

I got my selvedge chambray shirt today and I was immediately surprised by how soft the fabric is! Truly incredible, I didn’t quite realise how much difference the garment washing process would make. It’s also quite stretchy as if it contained a small percentage of elastane or wool (I didn’t imagine it would be possible with just cotton).

I had passed on the first batch because I didn’t think it would be that different to other chambrays but in the end I went for it on the basis of how nice the PS Oxford fabric is. I’m happy I did, as much as I like the PS Oxfords (my most worn shirts) I think this selvedge might be more special in the long run. Perhaps a similar woven and washed fabric could be made in other colours ?

L

Any plans on restock?